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And the winner is…fiery actress, Sola Sobowale, of Nollywood

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Sola Sobowale

Notable actress, Sola Sobowale, is the new queen of the continental. The jury of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), last Sunday, named her as the best of the seven other actresses nominated in the best actress in a leading role category of the Awards 15th edition.

The indubitable actress, who walked majestically up the beautiful AMAA stage to receive the award, was nominated for her role as ‘Eniola,’ the protagonist in the well-helmed movie by Kemi Adetiba, King of Boys or ‘KOB’ for short.

There was a standing ovation and loud cheers when Elizabeth Olusola Sobowale was announced as winner of that category. The applause reigned and reigned for the actress, who dedicated the award to her children, all based in the United Kingdom (UK).

“I would like to thank AMAA for this recognition. You know, 15 years ago, I was at the very first AMAA in Bayelsa State and I came back without an award. But here I am, clutching the AMAA 15 years after.

“I want to dedicate this award to my children. They told me that staying in UK was not for me. They asked me to come back home and continue to do that which I know how to do best.

“Am glad that I heeded their advice and I want to especially thank Kemi Adetiba (Director of King Of Boys) for the opportunity to feature in the great movie that is ‘KOB’ and my fans for accepting me when I returned to the scene after several years off the scene. They welcomed me with an open arm and have continued to support my come back.”

Some critics and observers say they were not surprised that Auntie Sola, as younger colleagues call her, got the AMAA crest. Although they acknowledged that the category was a tough one, with some of the continents leading ladies, such as Rita Dominic, featuring prominently on the list, popular opinion was that it would have been impossible not to nominate the compelling actress in the leading actress category. As one of them said: “Sola was ‘KOB’ and ‘KOB’ was Sola.”

Ageless and beautiful, she is one of the only finger countable actors in Nigeria posses the deft ability to spin a dull screen role to a satisfying fare. Those who have followed her shimmering career say she possesses such abilities in large measures.

Adjudged as one of the best element of most flicks that have been upped in the past and recent Nollywood history, Sola, as critics hold, has quietly become one of the industry’s reliable character actresses who the movie crowd can be sure to spend quality time with in several movies.

They described the motherly actress as one that normally would whisper from manic motherly to slapstick desperation with much gusto, just as she takes on cameo roles and makes them seem as if they are the lead roles.

It is such ability to live roles well that has endeared her to many who cheer at her each time her name appears on the credit line of movie.

Even Sola, recipient of a number of industry awards, three of which she got from overseas, agreed that she has become an outsized version of her own story.

Hailed variously as a cross-over artiste because of her ability to act both in English and Yoruba, her native tongue, and rightly respected by her fans and colleagues for her consistency and for tenaciously holding on to what she believes in and knows, all Sola’s parents wanted her to become was an academician.

But it was the legendary singer and actor, Pa Tunji Oyelana, her father’s son-in-law, that changed her career path. Uncle Tunji was able to convinced Sola’s father and her late mum, Esther, that she has a contagious passion for acting. Indeed, no one has had much to do with Sola’s emergence as an actress than the inimitable actor and singer of immense credit.

The legendary Oyelana it was, who pricked Sola’s young mind and ignited her interest in acting to a level, which the Ifon, Ondo State native wittingly said remains “indescribable.”

Pleasant to be with and beautiful in every sense of the word, Sola, whose favourite delicacy is pounded yam and iru stew, earned her first professional acting role in the early eighties. She was cast, in a supporting role, as Iya Alamala in the long-rested television comic series, Sura De Tailor, which featured Oyelana in the lead role of Sura De Tailor.

She walked from that humble beginning to earn roles in other equally popular television series, including Village Headmaster, Mirror in the Sun and Jagua Nana’s Daughter. Sola recalled that she was roundly commended for her brilliant showing in those television productions.

She earned a number of positive reviews and was declared a star to watch. But those familiar with her were not surprised that she shone, given the unrestricted passion and interest the actress of immense credit has shown for the acting vocation.

But to shine, Sola said she took the decision to join an established drama company, so that she could be further honed in the act; hence she teamed up with the Adebayo Salami-led Awada Keri Keri Organisation.

The first few briefs she grabbed under the frontline theatrical outfit proved that she possessed the smarts that would make her a stunning actress. No wonder then that she was cast in the lead role of ‘Shade’ in one of organisation’s all-time hit, Asewo to re Mecca.

That marked a turning point in Sola’s career and it was on the back of that movie that she became the toast of most movie producers and proved herself a talented and capable actress.

An actress who has proven with her beatific performance in such offerings, such as Super Story, where she played the lead role of ‘Toyin Tomato’ delightfully, Madam Dearest, Ija Agba Meji, Gbemisola, Ayoku, Okunfa, Asewo Kano, Thorns of Roses, Diamond Ring, The Gardener, Eri Okan and Jokotade, Sola admitted that the biggest challenge she has had to face is managing her fame and the incessant attention she gets.

Her simplicity and the fact that she is disarmingly humble makes her cut the image of one who still alien to the trappings of her fame, which has attracted, to her delight, a huge fan club of over a million youths.

Asked if the busy and versatile Sola has any regret as an actress, she answered in the negative, adding: “I have no regret at all. This is all I wanted to do and nothing more, and if given another chance, like you asked, I would return an actress.

“There has been no profession like it really.”

Other Nigerian Winners were Adesua Etomi (Best Actress in a Supporting Role); Kemi Adetiba (Best Nigerian Film to King of Boys); The Delivery Boy (Best Visual Effect) and Choices (Best Animation).


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